UPDATE: Murphy's Kids, a charity started by 107.5 WKZL host Jack Murphy, has offered to buy the device for Emily
Rockingham County, NC -- A Triad family is hoping to raise enough money to buy a critical device needed to help their daughter communicate.
Eleven-year-old Emily Kassay has autisim and lost her speech before she was two years-old.
"It went from having a happy little girl to someone who actually looked like they were looking through you and not at you," said Emily's mom, Virginia.
Virginia uses some sign language to communicate with Emily, but would love for her daughter to have the freedom to speak.
"I don't know what she wants to be. I'd love to know," said Virginia.
Last year, they had a brief taste of that freedom.
Emily was able to use a voice machine to help her communicate. The device says the words she selects on it. She could only use it for two weeks before the school district had to take it back.
"Those two weeks she was able to use it, it was a whole different Emily. She was so excited and just chatty on that thing," said Virginia.
"Within 15 minutes Emily was talking on this machine for the first time since she was 15 months old, 16 months old."
Now the Kassays want to buy one of the voice machines, but it costs $7,500 and they simply can't afford it.
"She has got to have this. I firmly believe that if you can make these children functional as children, they're going to be functional as adults," said Virginia.
"I'll finally learn what she likes, what she doesn't like, where she's hurting, if something hurts, if she had a bad day at school," she said.
Virginia has raised some money by selling her artwork, and had high hopes at a fundraiser Tuesday night.
Part of an event at the Oak Ridge Commons Shopping Center was a silent auction to raise money for Emily.
"I truly can't imagine what that would be like. It is one of those things where you can see she wants to communicate," said Randy Floss, who owns Bistro 150. He helped organize the event.
Between items sold in the auction and donations, they raised almost $900 Tuesday.
"She's just a regular person. She's kind of trapped in there and that device that we want is going to let her out," said Virginia.
The Kassays still have a long way to go to reach their goal to help Emily get her speech back. They're hoping for any help people are willing to offer.
"It would absolutely be a dream come true," said Virginia.